Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors

Movie Information

In Brief: Notable as the first Amicus Productions horror movie — and the first and best of their anthology films — Dr. Terror's House of Horrors is also, I confess, a kind of sentimental favorite. I saw it when I was nine years old and on my first — and, alas, only — date with a girl named Teddi, who lived up the street and on whom I had a nine-year-old-style crush. It also made me jump out of my seat with a shock cut that looks pretty tame today. (Perhaps my obvious cowardice played against me.) Looked at without the patina of personal nostalgia, the film is — like almost all such anthologies — a somewhat uneven affair. In other words, the "Werewolf," "Disembodied Hand," and "Vampire" segments are pretty good, as is the framing story where "Dr. Terror" (Peter Cushing) reads the fortunes — via his Tarot cards (his "house of horrors") — of his companions on a train. On the other hand, "The Creeping Vine" and "Voodoo" episodes are weak. (It's rare for stories about murderous vegetation to be anything other than weak.) On balance, though, it's an atmospheric little chiller that benefits from Freddie Francis's visual panache and a first-rate cast.
Genre: Horror
Director: Freddie Francis (Dracula Has Risen from the Grave)
Starring: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, Max Adrian, Michael Gough
Rated: NR

The Thursday Horror Picture Show will screen Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors Thursday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville, hosted by Xpress movie critic Ken Hanke.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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2 thoughts on “Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors

  1. Chip Kaufmann

    I first saw this when in it played in Greenville SC in 1965. I was 12 years old and it was only the second movie I was allowed to see (MARY POPPINS was the other) in over a year due to a movie moratorium imposed by my parents because of poor grades at school. It was also the first time I had seen Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee up on the big screen. It was also the first time for Donald Sutherland but he didn’t make an impression until THE DIRTY DOZEN a few years later. I am looking forward to seeing it again on the big screen for its 50th anniversary so I’ll definitely be there. As for me personally, I think the last Amicus anthology film FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (1974) is their best work. Any chance of showing DEAD OF NIGHT (1945) – the movie that inspired all the Amicus anthologies – anytime soon?

    • Ken Hanke

      It’s a little too close to your Hendersonville Film Society showing of Dead of Night to run it again, I think.

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